You know how if you hang around a certain kind of person, you take on their traits and characteristics? Perhaps this doesn’t happen to everyone, but I have noticed it about myself. When I lived in England, my accent changed a little so that I sometimes spoke with a British intonation. I drank tea and ate scones. Perhaps other people can relate to this if, maybe, they live with vegetarians and choose to stop eating meat, or maybe some people who live with card players who one day become professional gamblers.
Today I had that kind of day. My companions’ characteristics rubbed off on me. I hung out with triathlon competitors and, being the human sponge I am, I felt the spirit of fierce athleticism; by the end of the day, I too would feel the burn of victory.
Even though I wasn’t actually part of the triathlon team, the atmosphere was such that I felt as if I was.
It began when Chris woke up early. I, too, woke up early. He gathered his gear and bag of necessities (water, granola bar, jogging pants) and I gathered my bag of necessities (coffee thermos, laptop, spending money).
We arrived at the track and Chris went to the starting line for the team briefing to get organized. I went to the marquis with the team supporters and organized my chair, my computer, and peeled an orange.
For 3 hours, Chris warmed up, stretched, ran, biked, ran harder, and worked up a good sweat beating down the track.
For 3 hours I followed Chris as he warmed up, stretched, and supported him as he ran, biked, ran harder, and I worked up a good sweat, cheering right down the track. I was out of breath from all of the hard cheering.
When it was over, all of us exhausted people convened at the marquis for much deserved sausages and beer. I felt very good about myself. Chris did too. Together, we had achieved something awesome.
As the day came to an end, the thousands of other athletes gathered their bikes and their gear, and trooped off the track. Chris needed to change his shoes, and I stood by the track, balancing his bike and both our beers. The other competitors in their brightly colored spandex and helmets smiled and nodded at me as they passed with their muddied bikes, and I, holding Chris’s muddied bike, nodded right back.
It was a good feeling. We were athletes.